HBO Now breaks free of Apple’s lockdown, comes to Android TV and Chromecast

google announces hbo now for chromecast io screengrab
Within the first few minutes of the I/O 2015 developer conference today, Google’s Senior Vice President, Sundar Pichai, announced HBO Now is coming to Android TV and Chromecast. The announcement marks the end of a 7 week exclusive that Apple had on HBO’s stand-alone streaming and on-demand video service.

The launch of HBO Now last April marked a turning point in the streaming TV space as it was the first premium cable network to offer its content without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. When it launched, it was made available only to users of Apple devices such as Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. HBO Now subscriptions are priced at $15 a month.

Now that HBO Now will be coming to Chromecast and Android TV users, the service’s subscriber base will likely surge. HBO Now has never disclosed subscriber numbers, but it seems to have attracted a significant user base — HBO even had to crack down on users outside the U.S. But by opening up the service to anyone who already owns or is willing to pay for Google’s $30 streaming dongle, along with a potential reduction in subscription price, both HBO Now and Chromecast stand to see a boost in popularity.

Of course, the Chromecast is already doing very well. According to Google,  over 17 million Chromecasts have been sold to date, with 1.5 billion cast button touches, and 20,000 cast apps available. Some rumors were swirling around that Google might also introduce a new Chromecast at I/O 2015, but no such device materialized. Instead, Google released new APIs today that will enable a host of new features for the streamer, including an enhanced gaming experience.

Android TV, on the other hand,  has seen a slow start since it was first announced at last year’s I/O developer conference, but it made big moves during CES 2015, when it was announced Sony would ditch its own smart TV interface for Android TV, as would Sharp and Philips. With the addition of HBO Now, and new TV sets with Android TV baked in, the platform might become a major player in the smart TV space yet.

Update by Caleb Denison – 5/28: This article has been edited to note that no revision to Chromecast was announced at the I/O conference. 

Movies & TV

An Obi-Wan TV series? 10 things we’d love to see on Disney’s streaming service

While we know the upcoming Disney Plus streaming service will have tons of great content, we put together a wish list of projects from across Disney's properties we'd like to see on the service in the near future.
Deals

No cable? No problem: Here’s how you can watch UFC fights online

Cord cutting is a great way to save money, but watching sports online can be tricky due to restrictions. If you want to stream UFC, the world’s biggest MMA promoter has joined with ESPN to bring the action online. Here's how to watch.
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for April 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Amazon and Google agree to more support for each other’s streaming services

Amazon and Google have taken a major step toward thawing their relationship: YouTube will be officially supported on all Fire TV devices, and Prime Video will work on all Chromecast and Android TV devices in the coming months.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Mid90s, BlacKkKlansman, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Jonah Hill's Mid90s, vampire action movie Blade, and more.
Home Theater

Sony’s 2019 TV lineup includes a 98-inch 8K OLED that costs more than a Corvette

Sony's 2019 TV lineup is revealed, including 8K and 4K models ranging in size from 43- to 98-inches and in price from $650 to a number much, much larger. The models will be available between May and June.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now (April 2019)

Amazon Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be a major undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Home Theater

Google brings ad-supported YouTube Music to its Google Home speakers

Hot on the heels of Amazon's announcement that it's adding a free version of its Amazon Music service to Alexa-powered speakers, Google is adding a free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music to Google Home smart speakers.
Home Theater

Bowers & Wilkins’ Formation Suite is a stylish, high-end Sonos competitor

With high-end audio specs, and gorgeous designs, B&W's Formation Suite is the company's first foray into wireless home audio. Starting at $700, B&W hopes to outclass Sonos, by offering high-res audio and "perfect" synchronization.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2019, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR and much more.
Home Theater

No car? SiriusXM’s $8 a month streaming plan has everything but Howard Stern

SiriusXM is stepping into the streaming music ring with an $8 per month plan designed specifically for people who get their music via smartphones and smart speakers. It doesn't work on SiriusXM radios, and Howard Stern is extra.
Movies & TV

Want to make Netflix browsing even easier? Try this useful trick

If you know exactly what category of film you're looking for on Netflix, you'll find this hack for the streaming service useful. It allows you to manually browse genres and subgenres of interest.